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Diversity and Inclusion: BNP Paribas is taking new measures and setting new objectives

BNP Paribas SA's new "Diversity and Inclusion Agreement" comes into force on 1 October. Claudine Quévarec, Head of Policies & Social Affairs France and Caroline Courtin, Head of Group Diversity & Inclusion and HR CSR, enlighten us on what is at stake and the main measures set out in this agreement.

Why was it important to negotiate this new agreement on diversity and inclusion?

Claudine Quévarec: For several years now, BNP Paribas has been pursuing a proactive policy to promote gender equality and diversity in the workplace, through regularly renegotiated company-wide agreements. When the last two agreements signed in 2016 on diversity and on the "generation contract" expired, we decided to implement a single agreement on diversity and inclusion, including end-of-career measures. Signed last July with SNB-CFE/CGC, this agreement has been entered into for 4 years.

Why did you call this agreement "Diversity and Inclusion"?

Caroline Courtin: This new agreement consolidates and enriches our commitments to diversity and inclusion, and introduces new mechanisms to ensure that everyone feels fully respected and included. Since 2016, society and legislation have changed in France and employees are expressing new expectations, in particular through trade unions. The Group has also undertaken new actions aimed specifically at combating sexism or supporting victims of domestic and intra-family violence. We felt it was important to consolidate all these developments in the new agreement.

This new agreement consolidates and enriches our commitments to diversity and inclusion

What are the main steps forward?

C.Q.: They are different in nature because the agreement is very comprehensive. It covers five main themes: governance of diversity within BNP Paribas, diversity of origin, the fight against discrimination, gender equality in the workplace and support for the transition from work to retirement. On this last point, a new progressive company retirement scheme has been created and the number of beneficiaries of the skills sponsorship scheme has been increased to 150 per year. In the area of professional equality between women and men, new numerical targets for the promotion of women have been set. Indicators have also been included to strengthen monitoring and transparency on the use of the special budgets provided by the company for the promotion of women and the correction of unjustified pay gaps.

The agreement also includes an innovative parenting support system. What exactly does this entail?   

C.C.:  The Group has always been attentive to accompanying the arrival of a child, with provisions that are more favourable than statutory regulations on maternity, adoption and paternity leave. The new agreement seeks to take account of the full diversity of parental situations. So it provides that where an employee takes in a child and does not meet the conditions for adoption or maternity leave, he or she is entitled to 30 days paid childcare leave. This is a major step forward and places us among the "best-in-class" companies in this area. We are also delighted about the forthcoming extension of paternity leave. Finally, beyond the agreement itself, each one of us, through our benevolence and openness, can contribute to creating an inclusive environment.

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